Researchers have recently discovered evidence of a giant living under the ocean more than 500 million years ago.
Fossils found north of Greenland indicate that the giant ancient marine species - the ancestor of today's whales - used some oddly shaped head parts to filter food from water. sea.
The study describes an animal called Tamisiocaris filtered by ephemeral in parts with large size and strange shape. This way of feeding is similar to some whales today.
This creature has lived on Earth from 520 million years ago in the early Cambrian period - an era known as the Cambrian Boom , when most of the major animal groups and complex ecosystems suddenly broke. of course.
Tamisiocaris belongs to an animal group called anomalocarids , an early arthropod, including some of the largest and most iconic animals of the Cambrian period. They possess extra parts located at the top to catch larger prey, such as the three-lobed beetle.
However, new fossils have been found to show that these predators eventually develop predators on the seawater filter, like the way whales today feed.
The project leader, Professor Jakob Vinther, a lecturer at Bristol University, said: "These early arthropods, if considered from an ecological perspective, can be considered sharks and whales. of the Cambrian century ".
The discovery of fossils of this species gives us a deeper and more accurate view of anomalocarids . In addition, the study shows the Earth's biological diversity in the Cambrian period, and helps dig deeper into the study of the characteristics of ecosystems that existed hundreds of millions of years ago.
Professor Vinther also said: "Large animals, with such passive feeding patterns, can tell us a lot about ancient marine ecosystems. Feeding by filtering organisms Tiny fleets from the sea cost a lot of energy, and thus need lots of food ".
The Tamisiocaris fossil was discovered in a series of archeological expeditions, led by research co-author David Harper, Durham University professor, and the results of these findings are published in Nature.